When Nancy Boyd Lennon was a teenager, she used to hide when a certain young man came to visit her father, John Boyd.
Lennon said she and her two sisters were young and immature, and they didn't want to interact with this boy, who was something of a social outcast. He certainly wasn't one of the self-assured, athletic guys her father typically coached at the nearby high school. But this young man would ride his one-speed bicycle some 10 miles to sit with Boyd and listen to old 78 records of the Big Bands of the 30s and 40s.
"So this boy -- I don't think had a dad or father in his life -- so he would ride on his bike down to our house and my dad would invite him in and we would all roll our eyes, because this kid was kind of geeky," Lennon said. "And he was not among the main stream of athletic young men that my dad probably associated with himself or in high school, but he was such a kind man and as of this day, that was probably helpful to that young man."
As she grew older, Lennon recognized the life lesson in her dad's efforts to be a positive male role model for this boy.
"He knew, I think, that he was kind of taking him under his wing," Boyd said. "He was a very kind person."
Lennon said she knows that many people in her family embody a kind spirit to those who are in need or less fortunate because John Boyd taught them by example.
"I can remember," Lennon said, "driving by somebody with an old car, and I said, 'Look a that car. I can't believe it.' And my father said, 'No one wants to drive a car like that. That's sometimes what happens to people.' And that was a lesson I never forgot."
John Boyd was born in Newark, New Jersey. When he was young he went to live with his aunts on Long Island, where he excelled as both a student and an athlete. He believed in hard work and education, and he spent his career as a math teacher and a coach. In fact, his athleticism was probably his most memorable trait. He earned four varsity letters in high school, and after his time as a aviation navigator during World War II, when he went to college on the GI Bill, Boyd at age 32 was the starting shortstop for the Hofstra University baseball team.